Unable to play an afternoon round at the TPC Scottsdale Champions Course, I had to rough it and hang out at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, the AAA Five-Diamond property. I know, tough break. During the course of the day and later that evening, I listed five reasons that made my all too short stay such a memorable one:
- Service is both an art and a science at the Fairmont. In fact, I tested it when I pulled up in our van and with eight sets of Travelpro luggage. To the valet captain, I explained my compatriots were still on the course but planned to check in later. Without missing a beat and with an agreeable manner, the valet and bellmen expertly managed it all. After a long day on the course, everyone’s bags were already waiting for them in their rooms. Heck, one of my happy Golf Road Warrior buddies almost tipped me.
- The patio outside my well-appointed room was a simple yet choice spot to watch golfers tee off on the fifth hole of the Stadium Course. On top of it being a lovely day just to sit back, chill, and sip a cold beverage, I even improved my ‘adult-oriented’ vocabulary listening to golfers’ describe their errant tee shots.
- Willow Stream Spa was an eye-opener. At 44,000 square feet, it rivaled the size and scope of certain airport terminals. (If only I were stuck overnight here after a missed flight!) Yet its exquisite design and ambience exuded intimacy and serenity. The waterfall area inside the Spa is not to be missed.
- La Hacienda restaurant was an ideal pre-dinner spot to hash over the birdies, bogies and dreaded ‘others’ scribbled on the day’s card. The outdoor plaza was ablaze with festive holiday decorations and fire pits while inside our group was being warmly illuminated by a tequila sampling. The variety and breadth of tequila was a revelation to me so I strongly recommend a tryst with the restaurant’s legendary Tequila Goddess, Danielle Griffin.
- Bourbon Steak exceeded its lofty reputation as a preeminent steakhouse and I didn’t even order meat. Needing to eat light ahead of a rude 4 a.m wake-up call, I opted for the precisely prepared grilled Loch Duart salmon complemented by a delicious baked potato. Meanwhile, my dinner companions were in similar culinary bliss over Maine lobster pot pie and various mesquite-grilled steak dishes. Throughout, the service was knowledgeable, attentive and affable.
As I checked out in the wee hours of Saturday morning, I realized being a guest at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess provided a perfect ending point for this pampered but appreciative Golf Road Warrior.